Hugo Category Highlights – The Finalists – Best Editor, Short Form and Long Form
Best Editor – Short Form
There’s been a healthy rise in nomination ballots cast here: from 870 in 2015 to 1891 this year. It’s something of a shame I don’t find the contenders all that inspiring. I’m hoping I’m just a bit on the jaded side and it’s not actually a symptom of a rather poor selection.
John Joseph Adams – My complete lack of enthusiasm here could be because instead of getting to see at least one issue of Lightspeed as compiled by the editor, Mr Adams chose to provide a selection of his personal choices from the magazine. They weren’t to my taste – well written, certainly, but unsatisfying. I don’t know if the sense that there wasn’t any there there for me to miss is me being tired and jaded or if it’s accurate. Do make sure to read it yourself and draw your own conclusions.
Neil Clarke – The issue of Clarkesworld Mr Clarke provided suffered from the same problems I had with Mr Adams choices: they were all well written, but they simply didn’t reach me in any way.
Ellen Datlow – Ms Datlow provided links to a number of the Tor.com pieces she edited as well as the names of some of her anthologies. The Tor.com stories once again hit me as, well, rather empty. Very well done, certainly, but empty.
Jerry Pournelle – The publisher of There Will Be War Vol X was kind enough to provide the entire anthology as part of the voter packet, which is not a trivial enterprise. Not only does each story have something to do with war (with a title like that, of course), but the commentary from the authors and others on the nature of modern war and the possible directions war could go in the future is in some cases more interesting than the fiction.
Sheila Williams – A sample issue of Asimov’s is provided in the voter packet, which, sadly, only served to remind me why I stopped buying Asimov’s some years back. I really do hope that my complete lack of interest in almost everything in this issue (apart from an intriguing and quite ironic anecdote about some of Damon Knight’s decisions that show the political issues in the field have been around for a long, long time) is just me, because the alternative isn’t good.
Overall, I’ve got to say that even though I don’t much like military SF as a subgenre, the mil-sf anthology is what sticks out here – although to be honest it’s difficult to make any kind of judgment about the editors themselves because there’s nothing like enough context. We don’t see the pieces they didn’t buy, and we don’t see what the pieces they did use looked like before the editors did their thing.
Best Editor – Long Form
I could repeat the last sentence above verbatim and it would be just as relevant to the long form editor category. There’s no point raving on, though, so I’ll just say that it’s even harder to judge this than short form. I’m making my call pretty much on the list of qualifying titles each editor has published, since it’s not really possible to do anything else. 1764 nominating ballots this year over last year’s 712 says that there are rather a lot of people who disagree with me on that topic – and a good thing, too. Life would be boring if everyone had the same opinion.
Vox Day – Vox Day being a nom-de-internet-and-other-things, I’m not sure that Mr Day is the correct form of address here, but it will have to do. At any rate, Mr Day has edited some impressive works and enabled quite a few other decent ones. I doubt that will have any impact on those who make warding signs to protect themselves from the Evil Lord of Evil and his Vile Faceless Minions, or on said minions who will no doubt be supporting their Dark Lord to the end. It’s a pity, because I’d rather see these things judged on their merits – as much as a category like this one can be.
Sheila E. Gilbert – About all I can say about Ms Gilbert’s list of qualifying works is that her tastes and mine are clearly a non-intersecting set. I don’t have any interest in reading the works and none are among pieces I considered buying.
Liz Gorinsky – I could probably repeat what I said about Ms Gilbert for Ms Gorinsky. I’m fully prepared to admit I’m not a typical reader, but when even the titles don’t catch my interest (yes, my own titles reek to high heaven and I know it) I’m not going to be a good person to judge on this category.
Jim Minz – Again… Although at least there were one or two books in the list that I thought might be interesting even though none got beyond that first pass.
Toni Weisskopf – And – alas – the same must be said here, unless one includes the entirety of Baen’s output (Ms Weisskopf is responsible for that by proxy, having hired the editors who do the works she doesn’t personally edit).
I think I’m going to have to sit out this category. There simply isn’t enough in it that’s caught my attention over the year for me to make a judgment, and I personally refuse to simply say “Oh, X is a good person and they’ve done a lot of good over the years”. That’s not what the award is for.
As always, read, and make your own decisions about which way you intend to vote. I am continuing to slog my way through the voter parcel and next week will take one for the team when I review the Short Story and Novelette categories. If I don’t go into meltdown anticipating the naturalization ceremony in two weeks time.